By TOM SPENCER, Staff Writer
UNH is doing its job from the veterans to the freshmen, according to head coach Gail Goodspeed. This was the key factor in UNH’s victory over the University of Pittsburgh 195.450 to 192.175 on Saturday in Lundholm Gymnasium.
The highest-placing competitor was UNH sophomore Meghan Pflieger with an all-around score of 39.2.
“You can count on Meghan,” Goodspeed said. “Anytime anyone’s above a 39, we’re really happy. And she’s a spark plug for the team.”
“We started off okay at the beginning of the year, but we knew we had to fix minor details,” Pflieger said. “We’re like ‘okay we need to keep this going’. We need to keep up the energy and keep hitting and fixing the details, and it paid off today.”
Pflieger is off to a solid start, having been named the East Atlantic Gymnastics League gymnast of the week for her performance on Jan. 18.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Pflieger said. “I know last week I was a little nervous about my floor routine, but having that confidence going into the meet just makes it so much easier.”
The meet was marked by how well the team is fuctioning from the most experienced to the newest members.
“They know they can count on each other,” Goodspeed said. “They all know whoever up is going to do their job … if someone makes a mistake it’s okay. We’ve got two more great beam workers coming right after.”
Much of this team’s cohesion flows from the team co-captains, Erika Rudiger and Kayla Grey, according to Goodspeed.
“Our co-captains … have done a great job with team bonding, and making everybody feel important and as part of the team,” Goodspeed said.
Even the team’s newest additions are flourishing this season, as demonstrated by the strong performance of the team’s freshman members.
One of these freshman is Makenzie Kerouac, who was in a three-way tie for top placement for UNH’s uneven parallel bars with UNH’s Erika Rudiger and Pittsburgh’s Taylor Lamon.
“Makenzie Kerouac is … really, really solid [on bar]. I think all of our freshman are really stepping up,” Pflieger said.
“Makenzie is an amazing gymnast,” Goodspeed said. “Her bar routine I think is one of the best in the country. We’re still building on her. She does a really pretty beam routine; she is starting to vault. The release move she does is sky-high over the bar.”
Another performing freshman is Casey Lauter, who topped the balance beam placement with a score of 9.875, her highest of the 2015 season. “I’m proud of my beam score,” Lauter said. “I plan on just working on more form to perfect everything.”
Lauter has been enjoying the team’s shared energy. “A high point [of competing] is we always have such high team spirit and that always uplifts everyone,” Lauter said.
Elizabeth Mahoney shined on the vault with scores of 9.80 and 9.85, giving her the highest vault placement that evening with an average score of 9.825.
On the floor exercise, Kelsey Aucoin, Catarina Broccoli and Pflieger all earned a 9.8, matching them for top placement with Lindsay Ouffutt from Pittsburgh.
The team plans to move forward to their next game against Temple on Jan. 31. According to their coach, the team is ready for the challenge.
“It’s different when your team is counting on you” Goodspeed said. “And they’re not panicked by it. They’re stepping up to it.”